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Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 18 by Naoshi Komi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

If you have been following “Nisekoi: False Love” all this time, what happens when Kirisaki is told that she will be moving back to the United States and will be leaving Raku and her friends in this entertaining 18th volume of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”. Highly recommended!

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© 2011 Naoshi Komi. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Nisekoi: False Love Vol. 18

STORY AND ART BY: Naoshi Komi (古味直志)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 1, 2016


It’s day three of the school trip, and Raku visits a temple known to be a power spot. Little does he know that it’s a place famous for magical bows and arrows that have romance-fulfilling properties! With all the girls determined to shoot him down, which huntress will bring down her prey?!


What happens when Kirasaki’s father tells her that she and Raku will no longer need to fake their relationship because she and Tsugumi will be moving back to the United States.  This leaves Chitoge devastated that she will never ever confess her feelings to Raku and will never be around him and her friends.

All this and more in Naoshi Komi’s hit manga series, “Nisekoi: False Love” vol. 18!

What is “Nisekoi: False Love”?

Naoshi Komi’s manga work is well-known for readers of Shonen Jump. From “Koi no Kami-sama”, “Williams” and “Double Arts”, Komi’s manga “Nisekoi” (False Love) was created as a one shot for Jump NEXT! in 2011 but then receiving the go-ahead as a weekly manga serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

It was also one of the first manga to receive an English translation online courtesy of Shueisha and a total of 18 volumes have been released since then.

“Nisekoi” revolves around high school Raku Ichijou. When Ichijou was a kid, he met a girl and he kept a lock, she kept the key and promised each other to get married if they one day find each other.

Since then, Ichijou has kept his promise and has worn the lock around his neck and has been hoping to meet her again.

But Ichijou’s life is a little complicated. While a good-natured individual, unfortunately for him, he is the son of the leader of the Shuei-gumi yakuza syndicate. He has no interested in become part of the yakuza but everyone expects him to be the next one to lead the syndicate in the future.

Meanwhile, while going to school, he sees a foreign girl jumping from a wall and landing on him. He loses the lock on his neck and is very upset of what had transpired. Next thing you know in class, that same girl becomes a new student in his class.

Chitoge Kirisaki just moved from the U.S. to Japan and since her mom is Japanese and her dad is America, she is fluent in both Japanese and English. And suffice to say, when both Ichijou and Kirisaki see each other, they start yelling at each other and she nails him with a hit after he calls her “monkey girl”. People see how tough she is but to make them get along, his teacher puts Ichijou in charge of showing her around school.

He tries his best but the two are like oil and water, they just don’t get along. For the next week of trying to assist her, the two end up arguing and getting in each other’s faces.

If anything, Ichijou focus is more on finding the lock that was lost when Kirisaki landed on him. And he wonders if Kosaki Onodera, the popular girl in school and a person who has treated him with nothing but kindness is the girl that he made the promise with. He hopes it is her.

But just when Ichijou is about to give up, Onodera pleads with him to keep his promise and Ichijou is reminded that a promise is a promise and he intends to keep it. But wants to ask Onodera if there is any chance she may be the girl he made the promise too.

What he doesn’t know is that Onodera does have a key and she has always liked Ichijou but doesn’t have the guts to tell him.

But as Ichijou wonders if Onodera is the girl he made a promise too and excited for the possibility that it might be, when he gets home, his father talks to him about something important.

The problem is that the Shuei-gumi and another rival yakuza gang are in the brink of all-out war that would damage both yakuza gangs, he and the other leader have come up with the plan. Ichijou must pretend to be dating the daughter of the leader of the opposing yakuza gang.

Ichijou doesn’t want to get involved and his father told him that he must forget dating any other girl and focus liking this girl they set him up with.

When the two are introduces, Ichijou is shocked that the girl is Chitoge Kirisaki. And for both of them, they must promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend for three whole years and be convincing to both yakuza gangs that they are truly in love.

Both don’t want to be involved with each other but they have no choice. But now they must find a way to co-exist with each other as both yakuza gangs are suspicious of their relationship especially Kirisaki’s guardian, Claude.

Meanwhile, Ichijou still wants to ask Onodera if she is the girl with the key and Onodera is about to let him know that she is. But before they can, the whole school are told that both Ichijo and Kirasaki are boyfriend and girlfriend.

And now it has made things tough for both Ichijou and Kirisaki, but can they keep this charade of being in love with each other, especially if they despite one another?

And since then, there are a few other complications as not only Chitoge and Onodera have fallen for Raku, but also Chitoge’s bodyguard Tsugumi and Marika Tachibana, who Raku’s father promised Marika’s father that they would marry?

But while Raku Ichijou and Chitoge Kirisaki are supposed to fake their relationship, Chitoge is starting to realize that with each moment spent with Raku, she is slowly falling in love with him.

For volume 18, Chitoge Kirasaki’s father tells her that she and Raku will no longer need to fake their relationship because she and Tsugumi will be moving back to the United States.  This leaves Chitoge to become devastated that she will never ever confess her feelings to Raku and will never be around him and her friends.  Meanwhile, what happens when the group go on a trip to Kyoto?


With volume 18 of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”, the manga focuses on Kirisaki finding out from her father that the fake relationship between her and Raku is coming to an end as he would like her to move closer to her mother in the United States.

In essence, this means Seishiro Tsugumi and also her rival Paula would be moving as well.

Devastated and trying to find ways to stay in Japan, can Kirisaki find a way to stay with Raku and her friends?  Meanwhile, another storyline features Raku, Chitoge and classmates going on a trip to Kyoto.  Will this trip go smoothly?

18 volumes in through the series, I really enjoy this manga series because it’s fresh take on the young promise made by youngsters to marry each other and it also has that similarity to “Ranma 1/2” of two people arranged by their parents to be together, although not to be married but to have this fake romance for three years. And then having multiple young ladies vying for his attention.

But with the introduction of other girls who made promises when they were younger, we clearly don’t know which girl Raku promised to marry when he was younger. But with everyone vying for Raku’s attention (and he being totally oblivious to what’s going on), it makes for a very entertaining storyline and series!

The artwork by Naoshi Komi is well-drawn, the series is full of humor and for the most part quite delightful in capturing their emotions on each page. But Naoshi Komi’s manga series has been nothing but delightful and very entertaining!

If you have been following “Nisekoi: False Love” all this time, what happens when Kirisaki is told that she will be moving back to the United States and will be leaving Raku and her friends in this entertaining 18th volume of Naoshi Komi’s “Nisekoi: False Love”. Highly recommended!

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Happiness vol. 1 by Shuzo Oshimi (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

January 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Knowing how Shuzo Oshimi’s manga series tend to have surprises in store for readers, this first volume is merely a setup for big things to come. An enjoyable series thus far and I look forward to reading volume 2!

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Image courtesy of © 2012 by ONE. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Happiness vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Shuzo Oshimi

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kodansha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Kodansha Comics

RATED: M for Mature Audiences

Available on September 27, 2016


Nothing interesting in happening in Makoto Ozaki’s first year of high school. His life is a series of quiet humiliations: low-grade bullies, unreliable friends, and the constant frustration of his adolescent lust. But one night, a pale, thin girl knocks him to the ground in an alley and offers him a choice.

Now everything is different. Daylight is searingly bright. Food tastes awful. And worse than anything is the terrible, consuming thirst. The tiny shames of his old life have been replaced by two towering horrors: the truth of what will slake his awful craving, and high school itself.


From Shuzo Oshimi, the creator of “Drifting Net Cafe” and “The Flowers of Evil”) comes his latest manga series “Happiness”.

With a total of three graphic novels released in Japan since Feb. 2015, “Happiness” is a supernatural manga series that will surely entertain fans of vampire stories.

“Happiness” begins with a murder with a female vampire targeting a man walking out late at night in the Nakano Ward of Tokyo.

The story then shifts to Hokusei High School and features a year 1 student named Makoto Okazaki, a teenager who is often bullied and is forced to buy other students lunch with his own money.

The only person that sympathizes with him is Nunota, a teenager who was previously bullied and forced to buy others lunch.

That night, as Okazaki goes out at night to return a DVD, he is attacked by the female vampire but as his blood is sucked out of him, the female vampire gives him a choice, to die or to be like her.  Okazaki chooses to live and not die.

When Okazaki awakes, he is in the hospital with his family.  Seeing that he was attacked, as the lights are turned on, he can’t stand the light.

When he returns back to school, people have heard of his attack but one again, his bully Yuki try to cause problem when Okazaki tells them that the person that attacked him was a girl.  Laughing hysterically, Yuki tells everyone that Okazaki’s attacker was a girl

Upset, Okazaki instinctively punches the bully and breaks his nose.  With blood gushing from the bully’s nose, he notices that he can smell the scent of one’s blood and desperately wants to lick it.

Immediately, Yuki becomes the laughing stock at school as other bullies descend on him and Yuki becomes the person being bullied.

Meanwhile, Okazaki notices that he is starting to have problems as his body wants to lick blood and is starting to feel sick.  Okazaki starts to wonder what is happening to him?  And why is he so sick?


With a new manga series by Shuzo Oshimi, we have a vampire story about a teenager named Makoto Okazaki who is attacked at night and his blood sucked by a vampire and being given a choice…die or become a vampire.

Okazaki starts to go through withdrawals after his release from the hospital, trying to prevent his urges from getting the best of him but noticing a big change and others are starting to worry about him.

The first volume is pretty much a standard introductory story to the characters and series and while somewhat banal of a person who was normal but bitten by a vampire and turning into one, the first volume focuses on Okazaki’s struggle to contain his urges.

As Okazaki is often getting bullied, the story also focuses on how his bully (Yuki) becomes the person being bullied, after Okazaki, sick of being bullied, breaks Yuki’s nose. And now Yuki starts to become on the receiving end of feeling the brunt of being bullied by other bullies in school.

The other person introduced in the story is Yukiko Gosho, a blunt student who Okazaki slowly starts to get to know.  As his body craves for her blood, it’s still to early to see where this friendship and potential relationship may go later in the series.

But for the most part, as a first volume and and an introduction-driven story of the characters, Shuzo Oshimi’s “Happiness” begins with the obvious, it’s success depends where the series takes off after this first volume and how it avoids the banal vampire storylines that have been created. But I have no doubt in my mind that Oshimi will take this series into a fascinating direction.

The artwork by Oshimi is well-done and the series does have violence and also a sexual scene, thus giving the series its mature rating.

But knowing how Shuzo Oshimi’s manga series tend to have surprises in store for readers, this first volume is merely a setup for big things to come.  An enjoyable series thus far and I look forward to reading volume 2!

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Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 11 (Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Another action-packed eleventh volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” as Yuichiro and friends including Mikaela are now planning to take part in a risky battle to fight alongside each other to save Guren.  But first, they must put aside all differences and save the vampire queen Krul Tepes.  Can they do it?

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© 2012 Takaya Kagami, Yamato Yamamoto, Daisuke Furuya. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign Vol. 10

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Takaya Kagami, Art by Yamato Yamamoto, Storyboards by Daisuke Furuya

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: January 3, 2017


After trumpets of the apocalypse proclaim the fall of humanity, vampires arise from the shadows to rule the earth. Yuichiro wants just one thing—to get revenge by killing each and every vampire.


It was revealed that humans were experimenting on people to create the weapon known as “Seraph of the End” and Guren Ichinose is revealed to be one.  To make things worse, as Yuichiro went full on demon mode in trying to rescue Guren, Yuichiro still sees humanity within Guren and despite the pain and death Guren and the Vampires have inflicted, Yuichiro and his friends and even Mikaela are determined in teaming up.

But what is Ferid Bathroy and Crowley Eusford up too and why did they capture vampire queen Krul Tepes?

All this and more in the eleventh volume of Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto’s “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”!

What is “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” all about?

In 2012, mangaka Takaya Kagami (“The Legend of the Legendary Heroes”), artist Yamato Yamamoto (“Kure-nai”, “Denpa Tei na Kanojo”) and storyboard artist Daisuke Furuya teamed up to work on the dark fantasy manga series “Owari no Serafu”.

The series which has a total of six tankobon volumes released in Japan, has been released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media with the title “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”.

“Seraph of the End” began with an introduction of how an unknown virus brought the world to a sudden end. Only children under 13-years-old survived and those children were enslaved by vampires.

The story introduces us to an impulsive boy named Yuichiro Hyakuya who wants nothing more but to kill vampires. But his friend Mikaela Hyakuya is a boy who is more levelheaded and tries to get his friend to think straight and know they are not powerful enough to defeat them.

For Yuichiro, he wants nothing more but his fellow friends to escape captivity from the underground city of Sanguinem and reach the outside.

And one day, all of them decide to make their escape…but will they be successful?

In volume 2, Yuichiro Hyakuya wants nothing more but to get his revenge on the vampires who killed his friends, especially his best friend, Mikaela Hyakuya, who sacrificed his life in order for Yuichiro to escape.

Fast forward years later and as Yuichiro is wanting to become a member of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army, the army responsible for fighting against the vampires, he needs to learn discipline and train for combat. But first he must go through the various tests in school which include being friends with others and being a team player, all are hard for Yuichiro to try and do.

But now is his chance to pass the test to advance, but it means having to partner with another hot-headed teen like himself, who doesn’t mind getting into brawls…Kimizuki.

Will Yuichiro, Kimizuki and Yoichi be ready for their next test?

Meanwhile, what happened to Mikaela Hyakuya after Yuichiro escaped from the Vampire lair has been revealed!

In volume 3, as the team has trained and learned to work together, Yuichiro, Yoichi, Kimizuki and Shinoa Hiragi are assigned a new leader named Mitsuba Sangu. An impulsive girl who is also the rival of Shinoa.

As the team goes on their first major mission to fight vampires in Harajuku, will they be ready or will their impulsiveness get in the way?

In volume 4, the Japanese Imperial Army are fighting in a losing battle against the Vampire nobles, a group that includes Yuichiro’s childhood friend Mika, who was changed into a vampire on that fateful day.

As Yuichiro and friends come to join the Japanese Imperial Army on the front lines, Yuichiro comes into contact with Mika for the first time.

But with Mika now a vampire and Yuichiro a vampire hunter, what will happen when these two friends see each other for the very first time since they were separated?

In volume 5, learning that Mika is alive and has been transformed into a vampire, Yuichiro wants nothing more but to help save his friend. But still, he must go through a interview to find out what happened that day he confronted Mika and if he has the resolution to slaughter vampires. Also, factions within the Japanese Imperial Demon Army want Yuichiro to join their faction.

Meanwhile, Yuichiro and crew learn more about their abilities and whether they are possession or manifestation type.

In volume 6, Yuichiro still trying to learn more about his special abilities, must find a way to get his cursed gear Asumaru to work with him.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes, interesting partnerships or rivalries created within the ranks of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampires.

In volume 7, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army plans to launch a sneak attack on the vampire nobles and Yuichiro’s team must be ready to go into battle.

The problem is that they continue to work as individuals rather than a team and are not taking the attack as seriously as they should.

So, will they be ready to partake in this sneak attack?

In volume 8, the Japanese Imperial Demon Army goes on the offensive. And while Yuichiro’s team fared well, the other teams lost many of their soldiers in the war against the nobles.

But in order to make a strong statement of human vs. vampires, they must now launch a battle against the Thirteenth Progenitor vampire Crowley Eusford and nobles, Chess and Horn with whatever soldiers are remaining.

But will they be enough to defeat these powerful vampires?

In volume 9, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But they never realized how powerful a vampire he truly is.

And now Guren and Shinya are on the losing end, can Yuichiro save Guren and what bond does Yuichiro have with Guren?

In volume 10, Lt. Col. Guren Ichinose and Major General Shinya Hiragi were hoping to take down the powerful Thirteenth Progenitor vampire, Crowley Eusford and vampire nobles, Horn and Chess. But didn’t realize how powerful he truly is and now Guren has been held captive.

Yuichiro and his team tried to pull off a rescue but Crowley, Horn and Chess showed their true power. In the process, the demon inside Yuichiro came out when he saw his team nearly being decimated.

Now, his family member turned vampire, Mikaela is determined to rescue him from the humans and vampires. But with the Japanese Imperial Army surrounding him, can he save Yuichiro?

And Mikaela reveals the truth of the “Seraph of the End”!

In volume 11, despite the revelation, Yuki wants to save Guren, as he feels that his humanity is still in tact.  Meanwhile, Ferid Bathory and Crowley Eusford are up to something.

Yuki and his friends plus Mikaela must team up as the battle ahead will be deadly.


As Mikaela continues to distrust humans, with Yuichiro convincing him to fight alongside his friends, who will also be his friends and that vampire and humans can co-exist, Yuichiro’s inner-demon is starting to consume him, and while the rescue to save Guren Ichinose didn’t work out as Guren is revealed as a Seraph of the End, Yuichiro is still determined on rescuing family, which he considers Guren to be.

An action-packed volume, the latest eleventh volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign”. The storyline by Takaya Kagami is enjoyable, humorous and it has its dark, violent moments that easily drives up the ratings to “Older Teen” but for the most part, it’s not a horror manga series, nor is it too dark that it’s twisted or scary partly because of the comedy due to its hardheaded protagonist. The artwork by Yamato Yamamoto is well-done and characters are very expressive.

Another action-packed eleventh volume of “Seraph of the End – Vampire Reign” as Yuichiro and friends including Mikaela are now planning to take part in a risky battle to fight alongside each other to save Guren.  But first, they must put aside all differences and save the vampire queen Krul Tepes.  Can they do it?

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One Punch-Man vol. 10 (Story by ONE and Art by Yusuke Murata) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

With this tenth volume, GARO has his sights set on the top fighters…including King, but with the huge fighting tournament taking place, Saitama and the world’s strongest will be taking part. Will GARO be involved in the tournament? If you love action-driven superhero manga series with a a lot of humor, “One-Punch Man” vol. 10 is recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2012 by ONE. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: One-Punch Man Vol. 10

STORY BY: ONE

ART BY: Yusuke Murata

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: T for Older Teen

Available on January 3, 2017


The human monster and hero hunter Garo cranks up the intensity of his destruction. As the damage increases, throwing the hero world into turmoil, Saitama decides it’s the perfect time to develop an interest in martial arts and sneaks into a combat tournament. Meanwhile, the Class-S hero Metal Bat takes an assignment guarding a Hero Association executive and his son, and it isn’t long before trouble appears!


The “Hero Hunter” known as Garo has made his name known of defeating every hero and monster that has come his way.  But what happens when Garo and Saitama come across each other for the first time?

Meanwhile, Saitama prepares for an upcoming fighting tournament which Garo has dominated.

Also, Miss Blizzard gathers a team to take on Saitama’s team in a fighting video game challenge.

All this and more in vol. 10 of “One-Punch Man” by One and Yusuke Murata!

What is “One-Punch Man” all about?

When it comes to success stories of web comics becoming viral, ONE’s “One-Punch Man” is one of the well-known titles that have taken the world by storm.

Created back in 2009 and having surpassed over 7.9 million hits in 2012, “One-Punch Man” would receive a digital manga remake featuring illustrations by Yusuke Murata (best known for his illustrations for the manga series, “Eyeshield 21”) and would be published on the Shueisha’s “Young Jump Web Comics” website.

In September 2015, Viz Media released the graphic novel for “One-Punch Man” in the United States and in October 2015, the anime adaptation for “One-Punch Man” began airing on Japanese television.

“One Punch Man” is set in City Z and monsters have been appearing in the city causing massive destruction.

But standing in their way is a skinny, bald man named Saitama who also happens to be extremely powerful and can defeat monsters with one punch. But because he often wins all the time, Saitama has grown bored and is often trying to find more powerful opponents.

In volume 8, a villain named Tongue Scratcher and a mecha named G4 have arrived on the scene and King, the top Class S superhero happens to be nearby.

But who is King? What is his special fighting power? And what makes him the greatest superhero alive?

In volume 9, we have seen Saitama pretty much kick butt against everyone that has come his way. But is there a super villain that has great power that will put much of a fight against Saitama? Enter Garo, a supervillain who admires monsters and wants to destroy all heroes. Meanwhile, Class B, Rank 1’s Hellish Blizzard has come to invite Saitama to her superhero crew.


With the tenth volume of “One-Punch Man”, GARO is wreaking havoc as he is destroying all heroes and monsters that come his way and he wants to destroy them all.

But what happens when he and and Saitama come across each other?

As for Saitama, it’s tournament time and he wants to take part in the Superfight and challenge the strongest and the winner will take home three million.  But Saitama will be using Mumen Rider’s ticket (as Mumen Rider was injured badly by GARO) and be disguised as him.

Meanwhile, Ms. Blizzard wants another battle with Saitama, so she is doing a team battle…but this time in a fighting video game challenge!

For the most part, I’m really enjoying this series because the protagonist is quite unusual. You think of a strong and charismastic super hero as your main protagonist, but the protagonist of “One-Punch Man” is a skinny baldheaded man named Saitama who doesn’t look menacing at all.

A person who became strong by working out constantly, he then lost all his hair an became super powerful.

And where most heroes are proud of their work, Saitama is somewhat wanting the attention and respect that comes with being a hero, but yet hasn’t received it. So, Saitama is an interesting contrast to the stereotypical hero who is typically a person that is athletically fit, has a remarkable IQ or tremendous skillset, but for Saitama….he looks like a normal guy.

And while Earth has their heroes ranked, Saitama, despite his awesome strength is rated quite low. Will Saitama be able to prove that he is more than a hero?

Having seen ONE’s original “One-Punch Man”, the artwork from the original versus Yusuke Murata’s artwork is night and day. I always enjoyed Murata’s work on “Eyeshield 21” but his work of bringing ONE’s “One-Punch” man to life is fantastic. It was Murata who approached ONE to redo the artwork and if anything, it had helped ONE’s creation become well-known internationally.

So far, I’m enjoying the series, especially its really crazy and outlandish characters. But I like how the series manages to balance humor and fighting violence quite well. And Saitama is so different from your usual protagonist character in a super hero comic, so I am enjoying what I’m reading so far.

With this tenth volume, GARO has his sights set on the top fighters…including King, but with the huge fighting tournament taking place, Saitama and the world’s strongest will be taking part.  Will GARO be involved in the tournament?

If you love action-driven superhero manga series with a a lot of humor, “One-Punch Man” vol. 10 is recommended!

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My Neighbor Seki (Tonari no Seki-kun) Vol. 8 by Takuma Morishige (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“My Neighbor Seki” is a manga series that I enjoy but because it’s a story that focuses primarily on two characters, often in their desks during class, it’s like reading a comic strip about Toshinari’s antics of the day. It’s great to read a few chapters but it’s a series that can grow a little old because of its limitations.  But it’s an enjoyable and funny manga series taken in small doses!

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Image courtesy of © Takuma Morishige 2011 All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: My Neighbor Seki (Tonari no Seki-kun) Vol. 8

STORY AND ART BY: Takuma Morishige

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Kadokawa Corporation

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Vertical Inc.

RATED: N/A

Available on October 4, 2016


The high-school hi-jinks continue in My Neighbor Seki Volume 8 as Seki continues to find new ways to keep himself, and classmate Rumi, distracted from the depths of boredom.


As Rumi continues to be annoyed by Toshinari Seki’s antics in class, what new antics will Seki be up to this time around?

Find out in volume 8 of Takuma Morishige’s “Tonari no Seki-kun” (My Neighbor Seki).

What is “My Neighbor Seki”?

In 2010, a one-shot of “Tonari no Seki-kun” (My Neighbor Seki) was published and months later, the manga would become serialized in Media Factory’s Comic Flapper Magazine.

With a total of nine tankobon volumes printed , a 21-episode anime series having aired in Japan in 2014 and a live-action drama series in 2015, the manga series for “My Neighbor Seki” was released in the U.S. courtesy of Vertical, Inc.

“My Neighbor Seki” is a manga series in which each chapter features an unrelated story about a girl named Rumi Yokoi who is often distracted by the antics of her classmate, Toshinari Seki. No one in class is bothered by him except Rumi, and quite often, she tries to sabotage him and so, she is the one that gets in trouble by the teacher, not Toshinari.

In one chapter, Toshinari is creating a coupon and Rumi is ticked that Toshinari is only offering a one-minute massage to his mother, another chapter features Toshinari playing invisible tops; another chapter features Toshinari experimenting with a box filled with the scent of natto and what happens when Toshinari is pitting Go vs. Shogi during music class?

All this and more in volume 8 of “My Neighbor Seki”.


“My Neighbor Seki” is a fun and entertaining manga series.

A series about a girl named Rumi, who is always distracted by Toshinari’s antics, she is surprised no one else is drawn to his antics but her and she is the one to get in trouble for it.

Toshinari on the other hand is a character that does whatever he wants on his desk and never gets caught.

In some ways, the manga series reminds me of the way “Azumanga Daioh” was created in terms of short stories, many taking place on school campus but so short that you can read a few chapters at a time and enjoy it. But where “Azumanga Daioh” shines is that there is a connection often with each short story and there are many characters that are featured and you watch these characters grow.

In “My Neighbor Seki”, the storyline is contained down to two characters and when you do see another character, it’s brief.

In volume 8, Seki creates a massage coupon for his mother but when Rumi thinks Seki-kun is cool for doing it, when he changes the coupon to one minute, she is shocked and wants him to change it.  But can she get him to do it without disrupting class?

Another chapter has Seki creating a clay block character to play with his toy characters but can a clay and toy character co-exist?

Another chapter features Seki playing invisible tops mystifying Rumi.  Meanwhile, when Rumi spies on Seki going to a birdhouse and changing it, her friend is spying on them and thinks Rumi is jealous of Seki playing with birds.

Another chapter features an airtight box that Seki created but he fills it up with stinky Natto.  Will the vapors escape the box?

Another chapter features Seki giving Maeda (the baseball player that sits in front of Seki) his special baseball glove.  But what tricks does Seki have with this baseball glove?

All this and more of Seki’s antics in this latest volume 8 of “My Neighbor Seki”!

As I said in my previous reviews, while I do enjoy “My Neighbor Seki”, because of how the manga and its stories are constructed, I can only read a little of it each day because so much is restricted to the classroom and the two sitting in their desk, I didn’t want to grow to bored reading it all in one setting too quickly.

It’s almost like a comic strip that you read in the newspaper each Sunday, great to read once a week or a few at a time but in one setting, it can be a bit much and you can easily grow bored of it.

The artwork by Takuma Morishige is good yet simple, relying on character facial expressions for Rumi and for Toshinari, showcasing his crazy antics on his desk. A lot of panels are restricted to the characters without much detail for the backgrounds. Sometimes it’s just a plain white background.

Overall, “My Neighbor Seki” is a manga series that I enjoy but because it’s a story that focuses primarily on two characters, often in their desks during class, it’s like reading a comic strip about Toshinari’s antics of the day. It’s great to read a few chapters but it’s a series that can grow a little old because of its limitations.  But it’s an enjoyable and funny manga series taken in small doses!

Still, an entertaining and hilarious series worth reading, “My Neighbor Seki” is recommended!

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Blue Exorcist Vol. 16 by Kazue Kato (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 21, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a fan of “Blue Exorcist”, definitely read volume 15 as the truth of Renzo Shima involvement with the Illuminati is revealed! Recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2009 by Kazue Kato. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Blue Exorcist Vol. 16 (Ao no Exorcist)

BY Kazue Kato (加藤 和恵)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC

RATED: For All Ages

RELEASE DATE: December 16, 2016


The surge of demonic activity around the world has the highest levels of the Knights of the True Cross worried. An important meeting at the Vatican will have serious effects on the lives of Rin and his Exwire friends. Back at True Cross Academy, the students get a sense that something is brewing with the arrival of an unexpected and definitely unconventional new instructor! Meanwhile, Yukio struggles to understand the strange fire in his eyes, a fire he has kept secret from everyone. Can he confront the flames inside him alone or will it consume him?


Yukio has grown distant with his brother Rin and his students.  As Yuki tries to discover the source of an unknown power, he must find ways to risk his life in order to bring it out.  But how far will Rin go?

Meanwhile, True Cross Academy is sent a new instructor by the Vatican Headquarters…Lewin, the man known as Lightning.   Also, will Rin reveal his true feelings of Shiemi to her?

Find out in vol. 16 of Kazue Kato’s “Blue Exorcist”!

What is “Blue Exorcist”?

The manga series revolves around a hotheaded teenager named Rin Okumura. Both he and his brother Yukio have been raised by Father Fujimoto at the Cross Academy Town – Southern Cross Boys Monastery. While Yuki shows great intelligence and is attending school at True Cross Academy to become a doctor, Rin is quite the opposite. He tends to get himself in trouble, fights a lot and is continually told by Father Fujimoto to find a job.

Unfortunately for Rin, finding and holding onto a job is difficult. But one day, while working at a supermarket, he sees a monster in a girl’s scarf. He tells Father Fujimoto of what he has seen and Father Fujimoto starts to fear that something is happening. One day, Rin encounters a group of thugs and its leader that he had beaten up earlier and suddenly sees him turn into a demon. The demon tells Rin that satan is waiting for him and immediately, Father Fujimoto is there to save him and exorcise the demon. Fortunately, Father Fujimoto is there to help but it is all revealed to Rin about why he can see monsters.

It’s the fact that he is not truly human. He is the son of a human woman and satan. And the monsters he have seen, it is explained to Rin that in the world, there is Assiah, the realm of humans, and Gehenna, the realm of demons. Both are not supposed to come in contact with each other but they have and as an exorcist, it is his duty to send the demons back to where they belong. And satan wants to reunite with his son.

To protect Rin, Father Fujimoto gives him the Kamkakushi key, so he can hide anything. And he is also given the Koma Sword, a magic sword passed down from generation to generation and a sword where Rin’s powers have been sealed since birth. Rin’s flame resides inside the sword and is sealed by the scabbard. If he draws it, he will assume his demonic nature and will never be able to live as a human again.

One day, he and Father Fujimoto try to prepare for an imminent attack and tells Rin that he must seek shelter where satan can’t get to him but Rin takes it as his father trying to get rid of him forever. In return, Rin said some hurtful things to Father Fujimoto and the pain that Father Fujimoto felt was enough for satan, the demon to possess him.

Satan shows up to claim his son and attacks Father Fujimoto. Satan reveals that he created Rin from a human woman in order to create a container that would be powerful enough to hold him.

But it’s something that Father Fujimoto will not let happen to the boy, he looked at as a son. In order to save Rin, Father Fujimoto risks his own life to keep satan away and is killed in the process.

Now Rin mourns for the one person he knew as his father and when Mephisto Pheles, a friend of Father Fujimoto comes to visit, he tells him that they represent the Knights of the True Cross and they exorcise demons. And Rin has two choices, they will kill him, or he kills the demons. Instead, Rin tells him that he could care less about being human or a demon, he wants to become an exorcist like Father Fujimoto and avenge him and that means defeating his own father.

So, from that point on, Rin must be trained to become an exorcist and will have to follow special rules (which includes not revealing his true nature). But the first thing that he will need to do is enroll at the same school that his brother Yukio attends. When Rin sees his brother, Yukio is in the top of the class and that he is a special leader that people follow at the school and he is no longer the scrawny younger brother he once knew.

As Rin is now a student at the Knights of the True Cross, many of the elders are not too thrilled because Rin is the son of Satan and because Rin tends to be more of a hothead, they are not too sure if he can fit into the Academy. But Rin is determined to make good on his promise to his deceased father and to protect people, but most of all, to kill satan.

The story continues as Rin continues to study along with his classmates and each are trying to be Esquires, in order to take on various missions. But others at the Academy and the higher ups want to test Rin and find out if he is a person that can be taught and eventually fight with the other exorcists in defeating demons and satan himself.

While people question a demon being an exorcist, for Rin, he makes a goal that one day, he will become a Paladin (highest level of exorcism) like his adoptive father, Father Shiro and prove that because he is satan’s son, that having a caring father like Shiro can make a big change in the life of a person, even if they are a demon.

In volume 16, Yukio Omura grows even more distant from his brother and students when he tries to figure out what is happening to his body and why he has seen possibly satan’s power in him, despite being tested and showing no sign of having it.  Desperate to find the truth, Yukio will risk his life to see what it takes to bring the power out of him.

Meanwhile True Cross Academy has a new (powerful) instructor.


“Blue Exorcist” features the following characters:

  • Rin Okamura – The main protagonist. The son of Satan but born from a human mother. He and his brother Yukio are twins but he inherited his father’s powers. Rin’s power was sealed inside a sword by Mephisto Pheles, so he can live a human life. Rin was raised by the priest Shiro Fujimoto as normal humans with compassion and love. Despite getting into a lot of trouble and his abilities tend to be more of fighting or cooking, since discovering his power and identity, he vows to use his power to avenge his adoptive father Shiro Fujimoto’s death and defeat Satan. He vows to attend True Cross Academy and do all it takes to become a Paladin and a “Meister” (Knight). Rin also has taken in a dog demon (Cat Sith) which he names Kuro.
  • Yukio Okamura – The son of Satan but born from a human mother. Unlike Rin he did not inherit Satan’s powers. Known as the intellectual person of the family, unbeknown to Rin was that he has been secretly trained to become an exorcist since the age of seven in order to protect his brother. So, now he is an instructor at True Cross Academy and responsible for looking after his brother. But he harbors a secret…dark spots are starting to appear on his body which Yukio has told no one about, despite being tested daily if Satan’s power is in him.
  • Mephisto Pheles – The Chairman of True Cross Academy. He and Shiro Fujimoto worked together in order to seal Rin’s power and make him human. Mephisto is a powerful exorcist but because he is a demon, many do not believe him while others believe he has proven he is on the side to fight against Satan.
  • Ryuji Suguro – Also known as “Bon” to his classmates. He has a high temper and is often fighting and arguing with Rin. But despite his attitude, he is the best student in the class and dedicated to his studies. Part of his drive is because Satan destroyed his family temple.
  • Shiemi Moriyama – The daughter of a woman who runs an exorcist-only shop. She lacks confidence and she is quite sheltered (having lived with her grandmother and her only friends were plants) but when given the chance to meet and make friends at True Cross Academy, being in school gives her a new lease on life. It appears that both Rin and Yukio may have feelings towards her. Shiemi is a tamer and can summon a greenman spirit to produce herbs and barriers.
  • Izumo Kamiki – She always has a cold attitude and known for her eyebrows. The only friend she is close to is her best friend Paku but slowly (very slowly), she is starting to befriend her classmates. She can summon two Baykko (foxes) to fight.
  • Konkomaru Miwa – Very smart but very shy. He is the strategist and is loyal to his best friend Ryuji and Renzo, since they grew up at the same temple that was destroyed. His parents were killed by Satan.
  • Renzo Shima – Carefee, loves to flirt with girls (especially Paku and Izumi) but has a major phobia of insects. He also grew up with Ryuji and Konekomaru. Renzo carries a K’rik staff to fight.
  • Shura Kirigakure – The carefree, hardly wears anything, loves alcohol, upper first class exorcist who was asked by priest Shiro Fujimoto to train Rin and help him become a “Meister”. She can draw a demon sword from her chest and stomach and is an excellent fighter.
  • Shiro Fujimoto – The priest of Southern Cross Monastery who raised both Yukio and Rin as a loving father. He is a Paladin in the True Cross Order and was the strongest exorcist. Was thought to be the only man who could not be possessed by Satan but after an argument with Rin (and Rin saying some hurtful things) which shocked Shiro, it was enough time for Satan to possess Shiro. In order to protect himself from hurting Rin and Yukio, Shiro sacrificed himself.

We have read of how Yukio Okamura has been troubled with black spots showing up in his body and we have seen how his body was able to generate amazing power when his life was close to death.

And now Yukio wants to know why this is happening and how to tap into that power but the only way, in his mind to make it happen, is by putting his body through huge stress and that is by putting him in the position that would kill him.

As he grows distant from Rin and his students, everyone is starting to see Yukio grow distant.

Meanwhile, Lightning has become the new instructor at True Cross Academy and Ryuji Suguro wants nothing but to be his apprentice.  And as for Rin, what happens when he wants to confess his feelings towards Shiemi?

All this and more in the 16th volume of “Blue Exorcist”!

As for the manga itself, Kazue Kato’s artwork for “Blue Exorcist” is fantastic, the storyline continues to get better with each volume.

“Blue Exorcist” has a good balance of humor, action and an interesting concept in balance with awesome illustration. Because of the darker and more serious tone with the Kamiki family, there is less of the humor, more emotional drama and action this time around. And it’s a very fascinating storyline that is definitely building up for something huge!

If you are a fan of “Blue Exorcist”, definitely read volume 16 as Yukio Okamura puts himself through the most dangerous test of all time to find out more of his mysterious powers! Recommended!

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Sunny Vol. 5 by Taiyo Matsumoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A realistic manga series on the life of a group of orphans struggling with the fact that they have been abandoned or have no family members to take care of them, and their longing for family. A “Slice of life” type manga series, Taiyo Matsumoto’s “Sunny” vol. 4 is recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2011 Taiyo Matsumoto. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Sunny Vol. 5

STORY AND ART BY: Taiyou Matsumoto (松本大洋)

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2016


The fifth installment of this series focused on the young lives of a group of foster children displays the breathtaking peaks and troubled flatlands of their imaginations.


For the orphans of the Star Kids Home, the children who dream about having a family after being abandoned by their own parents or lost their parents, can only hope that life will become much happier. But for now, all they have is each other.

In volume 5 of “Sunny”, Haruo hangs out with his troublemaker baseball playing friend Tsuda.  What happens when Sei decides to leave the orphanage by stealing a car?  A day in the life of Junsuke who has caught a fever. Also, what happens when Kenji meets a rebellious girl named Haruna?  And what happens when Megumu meets her aunt and uncle for the day?

Read about the lives of these orphans at the Star Kids Home in the fifth volume of Taiyo Matsumoto’s “Sunny”!

What is “Sunny”?

In Japan, mangaka Taiyo Matsumoto is well known for his work in manga series such as “Tekkonkinkreet”, “GoGo Monster”, “Ping Pong” and “Number Five”.

While Taiyo Matsumoto’s work has been released in the U.S., “Sunny” has received the Viz Signature treatment and is printed in hardback.

“Sunny” is a series set during the 1970s and revolves around a group of children and teenagers who live at an orphanage and each chapter deals with a children’s life, with other orphans and also the heartbreak they endure of being left by their parents.

The title of the manga series is derived from a broken down Nissan Sunny 1200 in front of the orphanage which the children use as a getaway vehicle for imaginary adventures, a clubhouse and more.


Another heartfelt volume of “Sunny” as the orphans of Star Kids Home begin to miss their own families and wonder how long they will be stuck at an orphanage.

We have seen rebellious Haruo get into trouble, but this time he sees another person that is slightly older than him but Haruo sees how much trouble he has gotten into.

Another is involving Sei, the orphan who wears glasses, mild-mannered and misses his parents immensely.  And now, he makes his move to leave the orphanage.

Volume 5 also gives us a story around Junsuke, which the cover of vol. 5 depicts the young child with a cold.   Also, a story revolving around Kenji when he meets a rebellious girl named Haruna and he falls for her.

And another intersting story as Makio returns to the orphanage to introduce everyone to his girlfriend Nanako and how everyone reacts to Makio’s return.

If there is one aspect of Japanese culture that many westerners never get to see in manga or anime, it’s life of orphans at a Japanese orphanage.

With Taiyo Matsumoto’s manga “Sunny”, the manga gives readers a chance to read a slice-of-life manga series of various children of different ages living at an orphanage and the challenges they have. May it be in school, with other children and also the feeling of one’s self-worth after being left behind by their family.

What I found very interesting with “Sunny” is that in this volume, we get to see one of the orphans leave the orphanage but will life outside of the orphanage be positive? And we also get to see how orphanage and being left behind by your parents is starting to affect Haruo.

The artwork of Taiyo Matsumoto is always interesting to see. His style is unique and some girls, the way he makes those rosy cheeks look like uneven smudges that change from page to page, but it’s the uniqueness that I have come to appreciate about Matsumoto’s artwork. But of course, it’s his stories that are captivating and while “Sunny” is a slice-of-life manga series, it’s a fresh manga style to have released in the US, something different and unique.

As with the last volume, Viz Media is giving “Sunny” the Viz Signature hardback treatment for each release, thus the series does cost a bit more than a standard manga series.

Overall, “Sunny” is an innocent, real slice-of-life manga series about children at an orphanage and the experiences (happy and sad) that each have to deal with in their young lives. You don’t really find these type of manga in the U.S…. So, for anyone wanting some real, different or unique, then I definitely recommend Taiyo Matsuoto’s “Sunny”.

“Sunny” vol. 5 is recommended!

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Black Clover vol. 3 by Yuki Tabata (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

December 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you love action, humor and a manga series that features a good number of characters (similar to “Shonen Jump” titles such as “Bleach”, “Naruto”, “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”), Yuki Tabata’s “Black Clover” is highly recommended! Featuring an action-packed third volume as Asta and the Black Bulls must work together with Golden Dawn to battle the powerful multi-magic user, Mars.

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Image courtesy of © 2015 by Yuki Tabata. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Black Clover vol. 3

STORY AND ART BY: Yuki Tabata

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shueisha

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Shonen Jump

RATED: T for Teen

Available on October 4, 2016


Asta and his teammates head deep into a magical dungeon in search of treasure. However, waiting below are mages from a rival kingdom! Can Asta summon the power to defeat an enemy even Yuno couldn’t take down?!


After their first mission complete, a new dungeon has been found and the Wizard King has invited the Black Bulls and the Golden Dawn team to take part in a competition of who can obtain the treasure of the dungeon.

As Golden Dawn has arrived first into the dungeon, they come across the powerful being known as Mars, who nearly destroys Golden Dawn if it wasn’t for the Black Bulls coming in time to save them.

Now Asta and friends must prepare to fight against Mars.

Meanwhile, back at home, the capital is being attacked and the Magic Knights must protect everyone in the capital.

Find out what happens in vol. 3 of Yuki Tabata’s “Black Clover”!

What is “Black Clover” about?

In 2015, Yuki Tabata made his debut with the manga series “Black Clover”.

Serialized in Shueisha’s “Weekly Shonen Jump”, with a total of seven volumes published in Japan (as of August 2016), the first volume is available in the US courtesy of Viz Media.

“Black Clover” revolves around two orphans, Asta and Yuno.

Yuno is the wielder of the four-leaf grimoire and has the power of wind-based magic and has great potential.

Meanwhile, no one sees Asta as one with potential as he has no magic powers at all and he talks about one day becoming the Wizard King, which makes many people laugh.

But Asta uses his fighting prowess and physical strength in order to make him stronger and he is determined. One day, a grimoire shows up for Asta during a battle and he immediately becomes the wielder of the five-leaf clover grimoire.

But because he is not a magic wielder, he is seen as the lowest of the magic knights.

As Yuno becomes a member of the Golden Dawn Squad, Asta is assigned to Yami Sukehiro’s Black Bull Squad, known as the worst squad of the Magic Knights.

How will Asta do on missions with his team of misfits?

In vol. 2, Asta must take part in his first dungeon competition as a Black Bull member and he must take on Yuno’s team, the Golden Dawn. But what becomes a friendly competition ends up to be a bit deadly as the two teams must confront powerful members from the Diamond Kingdom.

In vol. 3, As Golden Dawn has arrived first into the dungeon, they come across the powerful being known as Mars, who nearly destroys Golden Dawn if it wasn’t for the Black Bulls coming in time to save them.

Now Asta and friends must prepare to fight against Mars.  But in the process, Asta may discover another special ability that he has to deal with Mars.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to the current Wizard King and the Intermediate Magic Knights and also the capital is attacked by mysterious individuals and the Magic Knights must protect everyone from the attacks.


While reading “Black Clover”, you can’t help but make comparisons to Masashi Kishimoto’s “Naruto”.

As “Naruto” revolves around ninja, Black Clover revolves around magicians and its main character, an orphan named Asta who is a hot-headed individual, who doesn’t have any magical powers, but is determined to show people that he will one day become the “Magic Wizard”.

While everyone looks down on Asta, only his good friend Yuno knows his true potential and Yuno wants Asta to succeed and because they push each other to become better.

While Yuno and Asta are not assigned on the same team, Asta is put in a team of misfits known as the Black Bull Squad and we get to meet each of the members such as the cold captain, Yami Sukehiro who treats his team like trash but tries to motivate them to become better.

We see Asta teaming up with the other hot head, the fire-based magic wielder named Magna Swing who embraces Asta on the team and also teammate, Noelle Silva, who is the second daughter of the Clover Kingdom’s royal family but is looked down upon because she is unable to control her water-based magic. So, she’s a person that’s closed off because she is royalty and is always wanting to learn how to do better in wielding her power, and she is welcomed with open arms by Asta.

With this third volume, Asta and the Black Bulls have come in time to save Golden Dawn from the powerful multiple magic user known as Mars.  But can Asta and team defeat him?

Also, the capital has been attacked by what looks like zombies and the Magic Knights must protect people from the attacks.

BAs far as Tabata’s character designs and artwork, he has a pretty cool style of character designs and I found his art style unique, fresh and great to see. He definitely manages to fit a lot into a panel. And the fact that the art is by him and he writes the stories, it’s going to be interesting to see how far he’ll take this series. Definitely a mangaka with plenty of potential and a series that can really become a long-lasting manga series.

Featuring an action-packed third volume as Asta and the Black Bulls must work together with Golden Dawn to battle the powerful multi-magic user, Mars.

Overall, if you love action, humor and a manga series that features a good number of characters (similar to “Shonen Jump” titles such as “Bleach”, “Naruto”, “Dragon Ball Z” and “One Piece”), Yuki Tabata’s “Black Clover” is highly recommended!

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Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano Vol. 1 – Story by KOHSKE, Art by Syuhei Kamo (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are reading KOHSKE’s “Gangsta.”, then “Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano” vol. 1 is a no-brainer.  Violent, action-packed and an origin story worth reading! 

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Image courtesy of © GANGSTA. Kohske 2015.  Syuhei Kamo 2015. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano Vol. 1

STORY BY: KOHSKE

ART BY: Syuhei Kamo

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shinchosha Publishing Co.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Signature

RATED: M for Mature

Available on February 18, 2014


The man named Marco Adriano is a loyal and beloved member of the Cristiano Family, helping them protect the persecuted Twilight population in the city of Ergastulum. But he was once a boy codenamed “Spas,” raised as a Hunter and assigned to the Destroyers Second Group for a single purpose: to track down and kill Twilights.

Killing is all Spas has ever known, and he does it without doubt or remorse. Taught to believe he’s ridding the world of monsters, he sees the extermination of the Twilights as a necessary step toward making Ergastulum a safer place. Until the day when he’s forced to confront the horrifying truth that the real monster might be…him.

In this spin-off series from the hit manga Gangsta, Gangsta Cursed, tells the backstory of Marco Adriano.


In the city of Ergastulum, the area is full of thieves, whores and murderers. And as for the police, they are corrupted and chaos is king.

This is the setting for the manga series known as “Gangsta.”, written and illustrated by female mangaka KOHSKE.  And while KOHSKE is currently working on “Gangsta.”, the mangaka has given artist and assistant Syuhei Kamo a chance to work on a manga and that is to tell an origin story of Marco Adriano and his affiliation with the murdering Twilights that are killing other Twilights.

What is “Gangsta.”?

“Gangsta.” begins with a prostitute being assaulted outside a building. Meanwhile, inside a building are two owners of the business known as “Handymen”, Nic and Worick, two men paid to take on assassination or difficult jobs that police or big business can’t handle.

As Nic and Worick are completing a job with the elder businesswoman inside the building, they see the beaten prostitute going inside the building.

The Handymen are then called for business with the police department and are sent to go after a gang leader named Barry Abbot (the man seen beating on the prostitute in the opening pages). Both Nick and Worick are hired by the inspector to eliminate him and his gang (including his prostitutes) as they are doing business in the restricted zone. They work out a deal that they can take whatever they can in return for killing them.

As Nic and Worick go after the gang and eliminated everyone including the gang leader known as Barry. They run into the prostitute and give her the opportunity to escape. But instead, the prostitute named Alex comes back and instead of killing her, they decide to take her (as in agreement with the inspector) and make her as part of the Handymen as one of their employees.

Meanwhile, as Alex continues to work for the Handymen, she tries to figure both Nic and Worick out. Is Nic an ex-mercenary, does he talk at all? Why does Worick wear an eyepatch?

One day, Alex sees a newspaper article about a massacre of the Arcangelo family 20-years-ago, all were killed except a 13-year-old boy who was 13 at the time. And the perpetrator, said to be a boy hired as a mercenary by the family. And Alex begins to wonder, can the two boys be Worick and Nic? Is Worick the missing boy that was never found?

In volume 2, a gang war seems to be inevitable as Corsica and Cristiano are engaged in a battle of outwitting each other and destroy each other’s families with the use of Twilights. But what happens when the Handymen come and Nic must take on another Twilight A/O.

And for volume 3, we learn about the history of Nic and Worick and how they met. The volume also provides valuable insight to the Twilights, the mafia families and the employment plus backstory of the hatred towards the Twilights.

In volume 3 sets up the storyline of what is a Twilight, volume 4 features a storyline in which the Twilights have become the hunted as anti-Twilights have infiltrated Ergastulum. Many Twilights are killed in the process but the Cristiano Family led by Loretta Cristiano Amodio, are trying to make sure that the Twilights are protected. And an important family for the Monroe Family which distributes Cerebret, essential to the survival of Twilights.

And as the Handymen are hired to protect them, what happens when a mysterious group infiltrates the Cristiano’s club and tries to massacre everyone including Loretta and those employed by the Cristiano and Monroe Family.

This could be the beginning of a major gang war in Ergastulum!

In volume 4, with the shocking massacre by the Hunters, word is spreading of what has happened to the Cristiano family and the Monroe family are put in alert as they know they will be next. Meanwhile, the sadistic hunters consisting of Erica and Mikhail have targeted the Paulklee Guild for their next massacre where Doug, Ginger and Gina Paulklee live.

Meanwhile, Nicolas worries what will happen to his love Constance Raveau and Worick Arcangelo does what he can to protect the Monroe family.

But more hunters start to emerge!

In volume 5, out of nowhere, two hunters come out and slaughters hundreds of Twilights. Could it be the making of a major gang war in the city?

In volume 6, with Delico Monroe finding out that his long lost sister was involved in the slaughter of Twilights, he, Yang with the help of The Handymen’s Nicolas Brown go to stop Erica, but they come across the other hunter, a young powerful boy named Mikhail.

In order to fight against the powerful hunters, Mikhail is given an experimental drug. But being the first test subject, will he survive from its first use?

In volume 7, Constance Raveau has been kidnapped and tortured by the Destroyers and now Marco Adriano is out for revenge.  But will he be enough to take on the Destroyers?  And who is responsible for the murder of the Twilights?

And this is where “Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano” comes in.  As it introduces us to Marco and his past with the murdering Twilights known as the Destroyers and showing us how he knows of them.  And it’s because he was one of them.

The manga takes us to the past when the Destroyers went through their first massacre of Twilights in Ergastalum many years ago and giving readers an idea that the massacre that is happening on the ongoing storyline has happened before and it’s by the same people.

But how did Marco break away from them?

This latest manga by KOHSKE and Syuhei Kamo is an origin volume that gives us a pretense of who Marco was and his past before.  And the people that was part of his life in the past.


With the release of “Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano”, the past  of Marco Adriano is fully explored.

Reminiscent of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, where the world has gone corrupt and in the city of Ergastulum, a city overrun by thugs, gangs, mafia, whores and murderers, the police are just as bad and to make matters worse, Twilights, those with special powers are being massacred by a group known as the Destroyers.

Long ago, a massacre took place in Ergastalum and with “Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano”, this first volume co-exists with the current vol. 7 from KOHSKE, as in vol. 7, we find out the Destroyers are killing Twilights once again and Marco is familiar with the people responsible.

With “”Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano”, this is a big reveal that Marco Adriano was once part of the Destroyers and was involved with the massacre of Twilights, but the question is how he broke away from that group and who sent the Destroyers to massacre Twilights and how that massacre ended?  But also, how did Marco and Worrick become partners?

These are all questions that “Gangsta: Cursed” will probably answer, as “Gangsta.” has a complex storyline that needs a lot of questions to be answered.  And those answers are rooted in the past and so I like how this latest manga explores Marco Adriano and also other characters and their position way back then.

It’s important to note that this takes places when Marco and Connie were younger and before they were teenagers.  How Marco was already a killing machine and how hostile Ergastalum was at the time and that same bloody situation in the past, has come to haunt everyone once again in the present (as featured in “Gangsta.” vol. 7).

KOHSKE’s storyline and Syuhei Kamo’s artwork is well-done and Kamo compliments KOHSKE’s “Gangsta.” artwork, so there is no major change of how characters look, aside that they are much younger in this graphic novel.

Overall, if you are reading KOHSKE’s “Gangsta.”, then “Gangsta: Cursed. Ep_Marco Adriano” vol. 1 is a no-brainer.  Violent, action-packed and an origin story worth reading!

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Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 1 – Story and Art by Yasuo Ohtagaki (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The character designs, artwork and storyline by Yasuo Ohtagaki are wonderful and while this is only the first volume, I look forward to seeing how this manga series develops overtime because so far, this storyline is awesome. “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 1 is recommended!

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© 2012 by Yasuo Ohtagaki. All Rights Reserved.


MANGA TITLE: Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Yasuo Ohtagaki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Signature

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 15, 2016


An epic story of war and survival set in the legendary Gundam universe!

In the Universal Century year 0079, humanity is divided between Earth and huge space colonies known as Sides. The colony known as Side 3 proclaims independence as the Principality of Zeon, and declares war on the Earth Federation. As the conflict nears the one-year mark, the Earth Federation and the forces of Zeon are locked in a fierce battle for the Thunderbolt Sector, an area of space scarred by the wreckage of destroyed space colonies.

Into this maelstrom of destruction go two veteran Mobile Suit pilots: the deadly Zeon sniper Daryl Lorenz, and Federation ace Io Fleming. It’s the beginning of a rivalry that can end only when one of them is destroyed. The lightning-streaked debris fields are about to become the stage for an epic duel where death is the only true winner.


Back in 2012, mangaka Yasuo Ohtagaki wrote and illustrated the manga “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt”.

With eight volumes published, the series would receive a 4-episode ONA anime adaptation and a second season is slated for adaptation.

The manga is set during the One Year War (U.C. 0079) and the Earth Federation’s Brotherhood and the Principality of Zeon’s Living Dead Division are in battle in the Thunderbolt Section, a zone that is littered with debris from the destruction of space colonies and because the area has numerous electrical discharging.

Fighting for the Earth Federation is Ace pilot, Io Fleming and for the Principality of Zeon, Zeon’s best sniper, Daryl Lorenz is focused on killing Fleming.

When Io and Daryl come across each other in battle for the first time?  Who has the upper end?  And which of these two will become victorious?


When it comes to the Universal Century Gundam stories, they are my favorite.  And while many of us have been entertained by stories involving Amuro Ray, there have been a variety of stories that have taken place in the Universal Century, some more deeper than the others and others just focusing on the action.

“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” may seem like the latter because of the action focusing on Earth Federation vs. the Principality of Zeon but once the manga goes into character development, the storyline focuses on how people are growing tired of the war.  People sick of seeing deaths of friends and loved ones.

Io Fleming is a man born from a wealthy family and he and his friends are thrusted into war.  Fleming is secretly dating Captain Claudia Peer, a captain who is sick and tired of war and that the Earth Federation keeps sending teenage pilots as reinforcements and always depressed and tense when Fleming, the Beehive’s best pilot goes to fight against the Principality of Zeon.  Along with Fleming and another childhood friend, engineer Cornelius Kaka, all three were born in privilege and are now assigned to the Beehive.

Fleming is an excellent pilot and surprises the Principality of Zeon when he shows up and takes many of them out with his Gundam and always playing his jazz music through a pilot radio station.

Meanwhile, on the opposite end are the Living Dead Division of the Principality of Zeon.  A group that is put together of people who have been significantly injured or maimed and are still fighting with prosthetics.

Their best fighter,  Zeon Chief Petty Officer Daryl Lorenz, is an excellent sniper and wants revenge against Fleming for killing his teammates.  He has lost his legs in battle and carries a retro-style radio that he listens to in battle.

We see the other side as those who feel they are wronged and want revenge against the Earth Federation for the death of their loved ones.

Zeon scientist Karla Mitchum is responsible for giving the soldiers prosthetics but when her loved one is killed, she wants Daryl to rid of the Earth Federation, especially the man responsible, Io Fleming.

But we see how the grass is definitely not greener on the other side and how difficult life was for children growing up in the Principality of Zeon and in order to make sure their families were taken care of, they had to join the military at a young age.

So, the first volume of “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” gives us another look at the unfortunate situations of war and how it takes its toll on the people of both sides.  While “Mobile Suit Gundam” often showcased the technical side and the strategies of battle, while action is commonplace with “Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt”, its the character dynamics that makes this manga shine.

The character designs, artwork and storyline by Yasuo Ohtagaki are wonderful and while this is only the first volume, I look forward to seeing how this manga series develops overtime because so far, this storyline is awesome.

“Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt” vol. 1 is recommended!

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